Posted: 12/10/2018


         After the shocking attack on the arriving Boja Juniors team bus outside the Estadio Monumental on November 24th, the second leg of the  Superclassico  Copa Libertadores was moved 6,000 miles (9,653 kilomeres) to Estadio Bernabeau in the Spanish Capital for security reasons.

      One River Plate mother was caught having tied a couple of flares to her young son to escape detection. There have been massive problems with fans in Argentina for many years, with visiting fans banned from away stadiums in Buenos Aires amid scandal after scandal concerning the running of clubs and the federation and links to organized crime.

         The price of tickets in Madrid was set by CONMEBOL  between £80-£250.00, far higher than domestic ones, and with air fares and hotel prices escalating,  its a miracle that 65,000 fans took their seats in Madrid two weeks late. The atmosphere was fantastic throughout the deciding leg and both sets of players ran until they dropped.

        After the 2-2 tie in the first leg in La Bombonera it was all to play for. Boca took a 1-0 lead through Dario Benedetto but Lucas Pratto equalised to take the game into extra time. When Wilmar Barrios received a 2nd yellow card and was sent off, River Plate took advantage of tired legs. Estaban Andrada was beaten by Quintero in the 109th minute and when Andrada went up for a late corner and deserted his net in the 121st minute Gonzalvo Martinez took advantage of an open net and made in 3-1 on the night and 5-2 on aggregate.

         It's a Long Way to Tipperary was played as River players and staff went up to receive their medals. The First World War song, written in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester in 1912,  is the tune of the club song TU GRALO NOMBRE. In fact to add to the Irish interest the first coach of Boca was Paddy McCalley in 1905 from Cashel in County Tipperary, and the Argentinian club play in gold and blue, which is the current colours of the Tipperary GAA Gaelic games uniform.

       I Have been to Argentina and Buenos Aires a number of times, including my first visit for the FIFA World Cup in 1978 with the opening match in El Monumental (Argentina 2 v Hungary 1) then to matches in Cordoba and Mendoza. My favourite club is CA Atletico Velez Sarsfield which I visited on one occasion as a guest for a match featuring River Plate at Estadio Jose Amalfitani in the suburb of Lineres. 3 times for the World Cup).